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Nursing School Degree Programs Alabaster Alabama

How to Select an Accredited RN Training Program near Alabaster AL

Alabaster AL Registered Nurse with Doctor and PatientSearching for the right nursing school near Alabaster AL may seem like a challenging undertaking, especially if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you need to obtain the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and determine the qualifications of each school you are considering before enrolling in your final choice. Unfortunately, too many future students base their decision exclusively on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Choosing the least costly program or the one that is local to your residence is undoubtedly not the most ideal way to pick a nursing program. There are various essential additional aspects to check into before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first review the nursing degree alternatives that are offered together with what the roles of nurses are in our medical system.

Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities

Alabaster AL RN taking blood pressure of woman

Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical environments, such as Alabaster AL hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary role is to support doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the exact duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise in addition to where they work. A portion of the responsibilities of an RN may include:

  • Administering medications
  • Overseeing patients
  • Conducting physical examinations
  • Coordinating care
  • Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Instructing patients and their families
  • Maintaining health records and charts

Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more high level job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master's Degree and often work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.

Nursing Degrees Available

Alabaster Alabama RN assisting surgeon

There are multiple degrees offered to become a nurse. And to become a Registered Nurse (RN), a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A nursing student can receive a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or advance to achieve a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short explanations of the nursing degrees that are offered to aspiring students in the Alabaster Alabama area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a 2 year program made available by Alabama community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently earn a higher degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more extensive training than the ADN. It is generally a 4 year program offered at Alabama colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified to complete an accelerated program based on their past training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might desire to progress to a clinical or administrative position, or be more competitive in the job market.
  • Master's Degree. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is normally a 2 year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.

Once a graduating student has earned one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) in order to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so make sure to contact the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.

Online Nursing Schools

Alabaster Alabama student attending RN school onlineEnrolling in nursing programs online is emerging as a more preferred way to obtain instruction and attain a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs require a certain amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more accommodating approach to finding the time to attend college for many Alabaster AL students. Pertaining to tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your work and family responsibilities have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.

Questions to Ask Nursing Programs

Now that you have chosen which nursing program to pursue, and if to attend your classes on campus near Alabaster AL or on the internet, you can use the following guidelines to start narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is essential to reduce the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we earlier pointed out, the site of the school along with the price of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two things that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final choice, use the following questions to see how your pick compares to the other programs.

  • Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program as well as the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. In addition to helping confirm that you receive an excellent education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided in Alabama for non-accredited schools.
  • Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) along with graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's essential that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an exceptional education, but also readies you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Visit online rating companies to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Additionally, contact the Alabama school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Alabaster AL healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their judgments are of the schools as well.
  • Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the RN schools you are considering what their graduation rates are as well as how long on average it takes students to finish their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It's also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the Alabaster AL medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students obtain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The most effective way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing too. Check if the schools have a working relationship with Alabaster AL area hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.

Enroll in the Best Alabaster AL Nursing School

Enrolling in the ideal nursing degree program is perhaps the most important first step to starting a new career in the healthcare field. There are many variables that you need to consider when deciding on a nursing college. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have pointed out in this content, it is important that you select a nursing school and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community.  By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Alabaster AL.